Decreasing Running Injury Rate

October 15, 2019
by
Evan Dancer

They say that running has the highest injury rate of any sport. I have struggled with injuries my whole running life. I still can think back to my high school season and feeling the tightness in my IT band. Or going to the doctor to find out that my foot had a stress fracture. I haven’t known running without injuries but I would like to. That is why I set out to build something that would be smart enough to tell me when I was pushing too hard.


All of my injuries have started from overuse. They have started doing too much too soon. And unfortunately, you can’t tell that you are overdoing it until you are already hurt. At that point, you have to take a few weeks off and lose all of that training that you built up. Running is a sport where to gain the most fitness you have to walk the line with the most effort without getting injured.


Here are a few things that contribute to running injuries.


Increasing Weekly Mileage


When it comes to monitoring overuse weekly mileage is a good place to start. If you are running for longer either distance or duration, you are increasing the likelihood of getting injured. A good rule of thumb is to not increase the amount you run by more than 10% week over week. While this is a good rule, it doesn’t encompass everything. There are a lot of other factors at play. 


Changes in Weekly Intensity


I had a running friend that once told me to either increase mileage or increase intensity but never both at the same time. This is especially important when starting faster workouts. We can monitor intensity in a few different ways. One way is your heart rate during a workout. Your average heart rate and max heart rate for a given workout don't exactly tell you what is going on. You have to look at the time spent in each heart rate zone. If your heart rate zone distribution is increasing, you are also increasing the probability of getting injured.


Not Getting Enough Sleep


Sleep is another thing that can increase the injury rate. This one is obvious. The more you sleep the better you feel. The better your body recovers from a hard workout. There are studies (linked below) that show that the less sleep you get the more likely you are to get injured. Professional athletes get a lot of sleep from tennis players to basketball players. This isn't surprising. Your body is putting in a lot of work and needs to rest.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25028798


Resting heart rate

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